The Miracle of Life

10/23/2013

Life is a miracle; neither science nor religion can adequately explain it.  So let’s start with some basic chemistry.

For the most part, human life requires two things to exist: oxygen and water.  About half of the earth’s crust and more than half of our bodies are made up of oxygen and yet the universe consists of just 1% oxygen.  So where does the oxygen come from?  Science has said that it is provided by the photosynthesis of living organisms (plants), which use the energy of sunlight to produce oxygen.  Since human life cannot exist without oxygen and oxygen can only be made with the help of the sun’s energy, it would seem obvious that the sun might be considered the source of life.  That certainly would be consistent with the ancients who equated the sun with God.  Of course, that doesn’t explain where the plants came from, or for that matter the sun either.

Then, there’s nitrogen. Without nitrogen life couldn’t exist as it is responsible for, among other things, the proteins/DNA in our bodies. It constitutes a negligible amount of the universe and yet it makes up the vast majority of our atmosphere. Overall, 98% of the universe consists of hydrogen and helium, but the earth’s atmosphere consists primarily of nitrogen and oxygen. That’s nothing short of a miracle and flies in the face of logic.   So how did so much of the nitrogen in the universe wind up here in earth’s atmosphere.  There’s lots of theories, but apparently no one really knows.

Of course, there’s also water. Approximately 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Water plays a critical role in virtually every biochemical reaction and thus is the fundamental building block of life and yet water can act outside the physical laws of Nature (e.g. water rises in trees against gravity).  In addition, current scientific research seems to suggest that water has a memory; it’s alive in a manner of speaking.

Moving into the realm of physics, we have gravity.  I think everybody has at least some idea of what gravity is having experienced it in their daily lives.  Without gravity, life is for the most part impossible. However, science is still trying to come to grips with this mysterious force. This has led one theoretical physicist to admit that when you do calculations concerning gravity, “…you get stupid answers.  The math simply doesn’t work.”

The hottest thing in science today seems to be genetics and the enigma of DNA. Just think of it.  Trillions of cells in our body each encoded with instructions on how to operate and grow our bodies; and these trillions of cells are all working in precise harmony with every other cell.  The neural circuitry in our brains uses algorithms undreamt of in modern science, way beyond the capabilities of the most sophisticated supercomputer. Yet, we can’t figure out how those instructions (similar to computer code) got there.  Who exactly was the programmer, anyway?

These are just are a few of the things in the physical world that might lead one to the conclusion that the chance for life in the universe, absent some form of intelligence, is infinitesimal.  But what about the quantum world, you might ask?  Well, ask away because the quantum world is beyond man’s power to observe and therefore will probably forever be a mystery.  What little we seem to know is that the in the quantum world everything is different than in the physical world, including different laws of physics.  The physical world appears to be simply the effect, with the quantum world being the cause.  You could say that the quantum world is the true reality and we are living, or perhaps more correctly dreaming, inside a virtual reality matrix.

So here we stand today vacillating between two diametrically opposed beliefs (God vs. evolution); between two fairy tales, one of the Genesis story and one as to how so many dead chemicals, in the primordial soup, somehow coalesced into life.  George Wald, a Nobel laureate, stated that it had been scientifically proven that spontaneous generation of a living organism was impossible. Yet he still chose to believe in something that, in his own words, was impossible rather than to believe in a Creator. That pretty much sums up for me the utter absurdity of man’s rationalization on this issue.  I can only assume that if I were to return here in another 2,000 years the very same argument would still be ongoing!

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

   ― Carl Sagan

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19 Responses to “The Miracle of Life”

  1. Two fairy tales. That is an interesting way to put it. It is curious to me why so many people think that the truth is limited to these two choices. I keep thinking they are both incomplete, but that is because I find both of them unsatisfactory as a believable explanation.

    • chicagoja said

      Only people who can think outside the box are capable of overcoming the programming which results from the indoctrination that we’ve been exposed to.

  2. Arkenaten said

    Yet he still chose to believe in something that, in his own words, was impossible rather than to believe in a Creator. That pretty much sums up for me the utter absurdity of man’s rationalization on this issue. I can only assume that if I were to return here in another 2,000 years the very same argument would still be ongoing!

    This is where I find my nerves are set on edge.
    Because science has yet to find an answer, we must, according to your rationale, posit a ”creator” as the unknown quantity responsible for it all.

    Not only do you have the temerity to deride Wald you use a capital C to describe your creator entity, thus tacitly imposing some sort of anthropomorphic quality to this deity figure.

    And you claim –

    Only people who can think outside the box are capable of overcoming the programming which results from the indoctrination that we’ve been exposed to.

    Well, based on this article and your disingenuous terminology you seem to be a prime example of that indoctrination.

    Another biased and disappointing post.

    • chicagoja said

      You shouldn’t be so quick to judge. I actually didn’t claim, or even infer, a creator in this post. If you reread the post you will see that I said that Genesis was a fairy tale. As for Wald, I was just repeating what he said; those were his words and his capital “C”, and not mine. I believe that it’s intuitively obvious that a great many of man’s belief systems are based on cultural indoctrination. On that basis alone, it’s okay to question what others believe in, but you also might want to reexamine your own beliefs since I found your opinion to be, as you said, biased and disappointing. Thanks for commenting nonetheless.

  3. Arkenaten said

    As for Wald, I was just repeating what he said; those were his words and his capital “C”, and not mine.

    If you wish to directly reference someone, in this case Wald, then perhaps you ought to clearly state what it is that the person said, by quoting them, for the benefit of some of the more slow-witted readers like myself?
    Your presentation appears ambiguous enough to suggest that the capital C was yours.

    You shouldn’t be so quick to judge. I actually didn’t claim, or even infer, a creator in this post.

    You have stated before your belief in a creator entity so it is somewhat disingenuous of you to tacitly imply that this is now not the case, merely by saying

    in this post

    especially when you add the words “fairy tales”, in reference to evolution.

    While some of the content of your posts is very interesting , reading through them has begun to create a disquieting sense of unease, as there is an overall feeling that you have a hidden agenda that doesn’t quite come up to scratch.
    Difficult to put one’s finger on it but it’s there and I have read at least one other who has expressed similar sentiments.

    Somewhat like reading a Creationist website: it all seems fairy reasonable for a paragraph or two ad then the waters start to get murky and just when you begin to wonder if this is one the level they drop the god bomb and then the agenda become apparent.

    • chicagoja said

      Thanks for the comment. My apologies for not directly quoting Wald but I did say in the line with the capital “C” that it was “in his own words”. I’m not implying that I don’t believe in a Creator, I obviously do as I’ve written about it so often as anyone who reads my posts knows. I was simply responding to what you said in your first comment(“Because science has yet to find an answer, we must, according to your rationale, posit a ‘creator’ as the unknown quantity responsible for it all). I didn’t say anything like that at all. The point that I was trying to make in the post is that I don’t agree with either side, particularly in the debate between Christianity and atheists. I understand your unhappiness with my quoting a preeminent evolutionist like Wald who said that he had to personally choose between a scientific theory that was scientifically proven to be impossible and his belief that there is no god. In the end he said that he chose not to believe in God (since he was a die-hard atheist) so by default he had to believe in evolution (since he had stated that there were only two possible ways to explain the origins of life). As for my reason for writing my various posts, it’s really quite simple. I’m expressing my opinion of what I think the truth is. I realize that my truth tends to make me unpopular with a lot of people on both sides of the aisle. So be it; progress never comes from tacitly accepting mainstream thought.

      • Arkenaten said

        I understand your unhappiness with my quoting a preeminent evolutionist like Wald who said that he had to personally choose between a scientific theory that was scientifically proven to be impossible and his belief that there is no god.

        Lol…no, sir, I am not upset about this at all. What Wald chooses to believe is his business, it was rather your insinuation that got up my nose. But nice try though….

        (“Because science has yet to find an answer, we must, according to your rationale, posit a ‘creator’ as the unknown quantity responsible for it all). I didn’t say anything like that at all. The point that I was trying to make in the post is that I don’t agree with either side,

        I know what you didn’t say..but the implication was quite clear.
        Your posts will naturally slant to your own beliefs, as will everyone’s no doubt, but your approach, as with many who posit a creator into their worldview (based on what ….who knows?) is simply that because science does not have an answer for you then the only thing left is a creator.
        This is nonsense of course and there is not evidence that proves this.
        There is only belief, based largely on a skew interpretation of what evidence there is.

        I’m expressing my opinion of what I think the truth is. So be it; progress never comes from tacitly accepting mainstream thought.

        Options…yes, quite Bit like bottoms really. We all have one. When one considers the ethereal nature of the topic you are rooting for this statement has all the arrogance of religious doctrine/dogma.

        If the current answer is “We don’t know” then you have no grounds to cry, ”God did it”, in whichever form to choose to manifest such a deity. That is dishonest, as you have no evidence whatsoever to support this opinion.

      • chicagoja said

        Please don’t label me with other people who possibly might conclude that God exists because science cannot prove otherwise. I, for one, don’t look to science to weigh in on this topic (either for or against) in order for me to form my belief. You say that the implication is clear and I would respond to you that it is clear in your mind, and your mind alone. Your own personal experiences of having discussions with people over this topic has apparently colored your own worldview. Yes, everything is opinion and yet you are so sure that you are right. Why is that? My own opinions are based on my own personal experiences, experiences that I don’t necessarily share with others. If that is being arrogant, then arrogant I am, although I suspect that men like Galileo, Copernicus and Einstein felt just as certain about their own theories. Opinion and theory is just that. Does anyone have any proof on this topic? Do you have any proof to show that god doesn’t exist? Of course you don’t. So why do you hold others to a higher standard than you hold yourself? My post is for the express purpose of allowing me to express my opinion. If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t read my posts. Remember, it’s my OPINION.

      • Arkenaten said

        Please don’t label me with other people who possibly might conclude that God exists because science cannot prove otherwise.
        I, for one, don’t look to science to weigh in on this topic (either for or against) in order for me to form my belief.

        Then why include scientists, and tacitly hold them up to ridicule, when making your claims for a creator?

        You say that the implication is clear and I would respond to you that it is clear in your mind, and your mind alone. Your own personal experiences of having discussions with people over this topic has apparently colored your own worldview.

        Then maybe it would be better if you were more open in the way you present your topics, as I mentioned before? Remove the ambiguity.

        Yes, everything is opinion and yet you are so sure that you are right. Why is that?

        No, I did not say “I am right”. But you infer that you are with your creator deity. I made a point of stating that when science does not know it is dishonest to posit any sort of creator deity in the space marked ”blank”. This is little more than a variation of the God of the Gaps theory, and is dishonest.

        My own opinions are based on my own personal experiences, experiences that I don’t necessarily share with others. If that is being arrogant, then arrogant I am, although I suspect that men like Galileo, Copernicus and Einstein felt just as certain about their own theories. Opinion and theory is just that. Does anyone have any proof on this topic? Do you have any proof to show that god doesn’t exist? Of course you don’t.

        I have never said I did. The question remains open-ended. You are the one who is positing a creator based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever; although from what I recall of a previous post you were hinting at Intelligent Design.

        So why do you hold others to a higher standard than you hold yourself? My post is for the express purpose of allowing me to express my opinion. If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t read my posts. Remember, it’s my OPINION.

        I have never suggested you can’t express your opinion. That would be rather silly.
        You blog on an open forum where the inference being you wish to share your opinion. You have the choice to accept or reject each and every comment. I am merely calling you out on the way in which you present.
        If you do not seek any interaction simply disable the comments,or delete the ones that disagree with your opinion, then you can be confident that your opinion is just that…yours.

      • chicagoja said

        I did express my opinion and you said uncategorically several times that I was wrong. I’m okay with that, it’s your opinion. However, you give no explanation and no evidence to support your position, whatever that may be. You say the question remains open-ended but you always state that the opposing position is incorrect. All you can ever say is that the existence of God isn’t provable (at least not to your satisfaction), as if the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. You’ve stated your case on this particular post in several comments which I will attempt to summarize as follows:

        (1) Because science has not yet found an answer to the origins of life, I have posited that there must have been a creator – blatantly not true
        (2) I’m a prime example of indoctrination – funny, but I’m not the one that is married to an ideology
        (3) I have some unstated agenda
        (4) I ridicule scientists when making claims for a creator – already told you why that is not true (his words, not mine)
        (5) I have posited a creator with absolutely no proof whatsoever – this post isn’t even about a creator, other than my comment about how the Genesis creation story was a fairy tale

        I think by now everyone understands that you disagree with many of the things that I’ve said, without ever explaining what you believe and why. People privately tell me that your style of commenting is disingenuous. So next time, you might want to consider stating your case as opposed to just saying that the other person is wrong. If you have something of value to add to the conversation, perhaps they would be more receptive to your position.

      • Arkenaten said

        I did express my opinion and you said uncategorically several times that I was wrong.

        This is correct. What is your point? You are still wrong as you have no evidence to base this upon. None. And you are being disingenuous as you believe in a creator. Based on what?
        Intelligent design is a fallacy.

        I’m okay with that, it’s your opinion. However, you give no explanation and no evidence to support your position, whatever that may be.

        Now you are beginning to be obtuse and tap dance, as is so often the wont of those who believe in superstition.
        So, in case you may have missed it or been unable to pick up from our dialogue, this where I stand.
        I put science about superstition.
        I do not believe in a creator or gods.
        I believe anyone who proposes a deity or creator is ignorant or guilty of wilful ignorance or fraud.
        There is no verifiable evidence for intelligent design.

        You say the question remains open-ended but you always state that the opposing position is incorrect.

        Let me rephrase that. There is no evidence to suggest there is a creator or any form of deity. Just because science has yet to identify every facet of evolution etc does not permit a deity/creator to be put in the blank space marked “We don’t know” and claim this is truth.

        All you can ever say is that the existence of God isn’t provable (at least not to your satisfaction),

        No, not to my satisfaction, it isn’t provable. Period.

        …as if the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. You’ve stated your case on this particular post in several comments which I will attempt to summarize as follows:

        (1) Because science has not yet found an answer to the origins of life, I have posited that there must have been a creator – blatantly not true

        You believe in a creator. You have stated so. Do you think he is only working on a part-time basis?
        Or maybe he is parking off somewhere on a bizillion year tea break?
        Or perhaps you’re merely trying to be clever and juggle semantics, here? You believe in a creator. Period.

        (2) I’m a prime example of indoctrination – funny, but I’m not the one that is married to an ideology.

        Lol…really?

        (3) I have some unstated agenda
        Yes , I believe you do.

        (4) I ridicule scientists when making claims for a creator – already told you why that is not true (his words, not mine)

        A scientist. And yes you implied ridicule by the way you formulated your paragraph. I have already addressed this.Don’t be so toady and suggest you are unaware of what you were trying to do.

        (5) I have posited a creator with absolutely no proof whatsoever – this post isn’t even about a creator, other than my comment about how the Genesis creation story was a fairy tale

        I have already mentioned that you have brought up the topic of a creator on several posts. The genesis story and evolution….
        “…between two fairy tales, one of the Genesis story and one as to how so many dead chemicals, in the primordial soup, somehow coalesced into life.”

        I think by now everyone understands that you disagree with many of the things that I’ve said, without ever explaining what you believe and why. People privately tell me that your style of commenting is disingenuous. So next time, you might want to consider stating your case as opposed to just saying that the other person is wrong. If you have something of value to add to the conversation, perhaps they would be more receptive to your position.

        Everyone? My goodness, there’s an ambitious statement if ever there was.

        I have said on several occasions where I stand: In opposition to the position of a deity or creator. I hope this has cleared any future misunderstanding?

        “People privately tell me that your style of commenting is disingenuous.”

        Do they indeed? Well aren’t you fortunate to have a committee of watchdogs to monitor your posts. Or are they tracking my comment history?
        Good grief, I never would have imagined I was worth the attention? I wonder why you had to have someone tell you this. Were you unable to come to a conclusion by yourself?

      • chicagoja said

        Now there you go again, demanding proof for every opinion. As for me, I never expect, or want, the reader to blindly accept what I am saying. Just the opposite. I hope that there is some critical thinking that results from reading my posts and they do their own research and come up with their own theories. Then, I might actually learn from them. You continually come back to “there is no proof that God exists”. Even if true, and there are scientists who would debate that point with you, do you actually think that you win the debate given that you are not able to prove that there isn’t a God? Why are you so hung up over this point. It’s a specious argument, anyway; in your own words, it’s not provable – period. That’s why people don’t care what you say, even if perhaps there’s some truth to your point. By the way, personal attacks will get you nowhere and, in the future, will not be posted on my blog.

      • Arkenaten said

        Now there you go again, demanding proof for every opinion.

        No, I am not demanding proof; How on earth could you provide any? I have said emphatically you don’t have any. There is a difference.
        However, if you feel you do have evidence then bring it on, please…I implore you, and if it pans out I shall be the first to apologise , recognise your achievement and nominate you for a Nobel Prize.

        As for me, I never expect, or want, the reader to blindly accept what I am saying. Just the opposite.

        Excellent! I doubt any of them do.

        I hope that there is some critical thinking that results from reading my posts and they do their own research and come up with their own theories.

        Critical thinking is what prompts me to call you out on your creator ‘’opinions’’

        …then, I might actually learn from them. You continually come back to “there is no proof that God exists”. Even if true, and there are scientists who would debate that point with you, do you actually think that you win the debate given that you are not able to prove that there isn’t a God?

        Okay. Let’s look at this critically.
        Firstly, god is a misnomer as my first query would be , which god are you referring to?
        Now, obviously a Christian will say “Jesus” and that can of worms is already stinking to high heaven (sic)
        A Muslim would say , Allah and the same criteria as above would apply….except they merely bypass the man-god, do not collect 200 bucks and go straight to heaven with all those virgins.
        Then there is the Jews…who plum for Yahweh and the Hindus who have quite a few
        Then there is the unspecified…we’ll call them Deists for now. And then there is you. Mr Creator.
        So, you can see, merely identifying which god/creator with or without the capital puts us all in a quandary before we begin.
        Let’s ‘duke’ it out until we have an outright winner; last man (or woman) standing sort of thing and that person can choose who is the real god, okay?
        Oh, wait a moment…I forgot we’ve been doing this since grandad fell off the bus and we are no closer to an answer than when apes were worshipping a black monolith while Strauss’ Sunrise played in the background. Sigh…..

        Why are you so hung up over this point. It’s a specious argument, anyway; in your own words, it’s not provable – period.

        Why? Because some of this crap gets taught to children. It is little more than child abuse and is regarded by many as Truth. Because the religious offshoots of god belief divide the world and cause wars.
        Because advocates of Creationism want it taught in schools alongside proper science.
        And this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

        ….that’s why people don’t care what you say, even if perhaps there’s some truth to your point.

        Ah, so confident. Speak to a deconvertee about whether they ”care” what I, or any other non-believer has to say on this matter. Trust me, you will get short shift from any of them.

        By the way, personal attacks will get you nowhere and, in the future, will not be posted on my blog.

        What personal attacks? You’ll know when things get ad hominem, I am merely challenging the way you present your posts.

      • chicagoja said

        Yeah, let’s duke it out. Last man standing. Have a nice life wallowing in your own certainty.

      • Arkenaten said

        Certainty? Smile….
        You really don’t get it, do you?

  4. Nan said

    Phew! After reading all these comments, I have to ask: What exactly did either of you accomplish? In my estimation, nothing.

    But I guess that’s what blogs like this are all about. You say, I say.

    • chicagoja said

      When you’re right, your right. I actually try to stay out of a long thread of comments, especially since I have a life outside of blogging. Unfortunately, some people have to have the last word, at all times insisting that they’re right. I always find it interesting that people would be so enamored with their belief systems… as if anyone knows for certain that they are right. I actually have a blog coming up about that subject in the very near future.

  5. It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before end I am reading this great post to improve my know-how.

    • chicagoja said

      Thank you for your comment. Life is not about knowing, but rather about experiencing. We already know everything that there is to know. We just can’t remember.

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